The Youth Sport Trust, a national children’s charity, has been commissioned to deliver an ‘early years physical literacy and social mobility project’ in all 16 early years West Somerset settings, through its Healthy Movers programme and resources which includes a Healthy Movers tool-kit and Development Tree. The project started in October and will continue until March 2020. Every child will receive a Healthy Movers Home Pack that will allow families to continue to promote physical activity in their homes.
This project will ensure that every child in the area has the opportunity to achieve a good level of physical development by taking a holistic approach using social, thinking, creative and physical themes. The delivery will also develop their language and literacy skills, increasing the children’s self-esteem and wellbeing, develop agility, balance and co-ordination which all help children to gain a better start to their life. We know that children who are more active with better wellbeing will achieve more.
YST Learning Academy tutors, Flo Holmes and Kate Chaplin, are now developing, mentoring, observing and supporting professionals in each early years’ setting, on a monthly basis, to up-skill them to deliver the Healthy Movers programme as well as develop their competence and confidence in delivering physical development. The tutors are also assisting each setting to develop and deliver stay and play clubs for children and their parents/carers to play and be active together.
In just a few months the early years settings are reporting that Healthy Movers is so much more than a physical learning tool as they can see the difference it is making to the overall health and wellbeing of the children. Numerous settings feel that the “real gem” of this project is the monthly visits as Flo and Kate understand the strengths and challenges of each setting.
One of the Healthy Movers Champions said: “It’s really interesting to see, as we fill in the baseline data on the physical literacy assessment tool, how the children who are emerging on all of the physical skills are also the children with the poorer language and communication skills.”
Dunkery Pre-School in Cutcombe decided to show Ofsted the programme in action. Healthy Movers Champion, Jennie said: “It was a bit of a risk as we hadn’t been using the programme that long but the difference we have seen in the children at nursery since using the activities has been brilliant. They can sit still for longer, they’re more focused and they are learning from the activities how to relate them to everyday life.
“Some of the activities with the Healthy Movers is about controlling objects across the body and one day that will transfer to controlling a pencil, so we were keen to show Ofsted the work we have been doing. It paid off because Ofsted absolutely loved it and we came away with a ‘Good’ rating.”
For more information of this Early Years Physical Literacy project please contact:
Chris Caws – firstname.lastname@example.org
Youth Sport Trust South West Development Manager